The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has posted Nigerians on high alert as the possible importation of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) increases.
The announcement came on the heels of a rapid risk assessment by the NCDC-led multi-sectoral National Emerging Viral Haemorrhagic Diseases Technical Working Group (NEVHD TWG).
This is following the outbreak of the Sudan strain of the Ebola virus in Uganda, South Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The Uganda Virus Research Institute, on September 20, 2022, confirmed the virus in samples collected from a 24-year-old male who exhibited symptoms of the disease and later died in Mubende District in the Central Region, about 175 kilometers from the capital, Kampala.
As of September 29, 2022, the Ugandan Ministry of Health had reported 54 cases (35 confirmed and 19 probable), as well as 25 deaths (seven confirmed and 18 probable).
In a statement, the NCDC, while stating that it had heightened surveillance at the Points of Entry (POE), assured Nigerians that despite the risk assessment, the country has the capacity – technical, human (health workforce), and diagnostic – to respond effectively in the event of an outbreak.
It said: “This is exemplified by our successful response to the Ebola outbreak in 2014, as well as improvements in our capacity for health emergency response during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We have the diagnostic capacity to test for the EVD presently at the National Reference Laboratory in Abuja and the Lagos University Teaching Hospital’s (LUTH’s) Centre for Human and Zoonotic Virology Laboratory. However, diagnostic capacity will be scaled up to other laboratories in cities with important Points of Entry (POEs) and others as may be required.
“An effective response system is in place with the availability of control capacities (trained rapid response teams, and an effective infection prevention and control program) to limit the risk of spread in the event of a single imported case.”